Pluralism, toleration, and ethical promiscuity

Journal of Religious Ethics 37 (2):311-329 (2009)
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This paper argues that from an ethical point of view tolerance, which is simply one of a number of possible responses to ethical pluralism, is not an acceptable ideal. It fails to acknowledge and appreciate the good in other forms of life and thereby does not adequately respect the people who live these lives. Toleration limits the range of goods we might appreciate in our own lives and in the lives of those we care most about, and it tends to lead to a number of deformations or personal failures of character. In place of tolerance, we should embrace ethical promiscuity—a view that not only acknowledges ethical pluralism but also offers good reasons to celebrate this state of affairs



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Philip J. Ivanhoe
University of Hong Kong

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Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Justice as fairness: a restatement.John Rawls (ed.) - 2001 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Ethics and the limits of philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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